The Artist's Music
Born in Lisbon in 1976, João took music and piano lessons from the age of six. After completing a degree in Business Administration, he chose to change his path and study music composition. He graduated from the Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa in 2006. During this time, he had the opportunity to study with Sérgio Azevedo, João Madureira, Christopher Bochmann, Luís Tinoco, Carlos Fernandes and José Luís Ferreira.
Apart from his music studies, he maintains several professional activities connected to the music field, including radio speaker, cultural management, artist management, press relations, marketing, and programming in the cultural field. Since 1993 he works in subtitling for opera, theatre and musicals. From September 2008 to August 2010, he worked as a musical programmer at Centro Cultural de Belém in Lisbon. His professional debut took place in 2006, with the premiere of Kaminari – ballet music for the opening show of choreographer César Moniz’s new ballet company. This was followed by the premiere in the Culturgest auditorium of the piece De Queda em Queda, for piano and string quartet, commissioned by Orchestrutopica. In 2007, he wrote Insecto Xilófago, a short piece for solo marimba commissioned by Antena2/ Prémio Jovens Músicos. In 2008, he premiered O Marionetista, for alto saxophone and string quartet, comissioned by Orchestrutopica and Festival de Música do Estoril. Since 2007, he has been working with fadista Joana Amendoeira, as arranger and artistic director of “Joana Amendoeira e Mar Ensemble”. In 2008, this recording was awarded the Amália Rodrigues prize for best fado record of the year. Apart from classical music, his musical interests include jazz, ethnic, world, Brazilian, latin, pop, electronic and recent trends. These all strongly influence his work as a musician. As a self-taught student, he has a strong affinity for improvisation and jazz. In 2008, together with Alexandra Ávila, he founded the Lisbon Jazz Summer School, whose courses take place annually in July, at the Centro Cultural de Belém.
Notes on the Musma Composition
“Arson” (Fogo Posto)
The month of August, 2010, was tragic for Portugal’s forests. During the summer, more than 15,000 fires were recorded, representing more than 100,000 hectares of devastation (more than 1% of the country). It was unsettling to follow this tragedy in the media, and it was especially disturbing to find out that the authorities estimated that at least 40% of the fires were intentional (arson). I received the challenge to write a piano piece inspired by the theme “Liszt and Landscape” on one of these hot August days. As a rule, the destructive acts that human kind inflicts on nature have identifiable commercial, cultural or demographical motives behind them. There are, however, unusual cases that do not fall under any of these categories, such as pyromania. Arson, when committed by a pyromaniac, is an isolated case in which a human being destroys nature with the singular goal of experiencing the euphoria of destruction and the visual and audible show that fires provides. Arson is a musical hallucination narrated from the mind of a pyromaniac who commits the crime and stays to watch the spectacle. The piece fantasizes about the trip for the senses that the ignition sparks in the perpetrator as he watches the spreading of the flames and contemplates the colors and textures that emanate from leaves, trees, bushes and earth. He lets himself be hypnotized by the sound of crackling all around him and listens to inflammable fragments of music that melt in the heat of the adrenaline that invades him. And he hallucinates… he hallucinates about Liszt, virtuoso like fire. Pyromaniac and fire become one; divine, purifier, voracious, out of control. In the vertigo of this sound furnace he finds serenity – satiating and pacifying – even if ephemeral like fire itself.